Monday, January 1, 2007


Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife.” But Laban brought his daughter Leah, and gave her to Jacob.

He removed my wedding veil without candle or lamp.
He could not stop sighing, Rachel, Rachel,
except to kiss, and not even then,
breathing my sister’s name into my mouth.
The first time fast and hungry, then he woke
to caress everything, to trace
the bumps of my spine, the hollows of my knees.
I tried to remember not to speak, but the “ahs”
escaped. Finally, exhausted,
he held me wrapped by both his arms and legs.
And I waited in the dark, knowing
that no matter how many years we would spend
living as husband and wife,
I would never be loved that way again.
And I watched the tent wall slowly go
from black to grey, my heartbeat
counting the minutes, until he would see my face
and scream.

Cheryl Gatling

published in Willow Review

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